A letter in the Soccerlens postbag today came from a desperate sounding footballer. We have tried to give reassurance and sound advice to help him through what is clearly a dificult time.
I am a twenty-eight year old footballer who has achieved a modicum of success in my career so far. I am probably best remembered for a goal I scored when I was eighteen but there have been a few more over the past ten years.
I made one bad mistake in my life and now it is ruining everything. I know I can’t turn the clock back but I need to let somebody know just how badly everything has gone wrong.
I have suffered from a number of injuries over the years but despite that I have played three hundred league games at the very top of the game and scored over one hundred and fifty goals. My international record is not too shabby and I’ve hit the back of the net forty times in my eighty-nine games.
More than Emile Heskey
This season I am playing in a pretty poor side which is in a bit of a mess, yet I have scored three league goals which is less than Jermaine Defoe, but as many as Peter Crouch and more than Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey, who are all playing in decent sides.
That is where my problem lies. I have once again been overlooked by Fabio Capello for the England squad to play the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers. I am not sure what else I can do to prove I should be given a chance as I would like to think that my record stands for itself. The players I have mentioned above have all been selected ahead of me and between them, they have one hundred and fifty two caps and have scored thirty nine goals. That’s one less goal in sixty three more games. Am I going mad?
World soccer player of the year
When asked about me the other day I understand that Mr. Capello said, “Is he in good form now? He’s scoring but it’s not enough to score goals. Sometimes I see games where a player has not played for 89 minutes and then scores a goal. It’s not enough. Goals are very important but not only goals. I have to decide on 23 players. I do not decide out of sympathy or because I like or dislike players. I decide on who I think is the best player at the moment.”
I think I am in incredibly good form at the moment considering the mess my team is in and I am doing my best to keep a disjointed and dejected team together at a time of great stress as the captain. I really don’t think I could be doing much more than I am.
I used to play for a Premiership team at which I was regarded as a hero. I then tried my luck with a big team abroad and that didn’t really work out for me. I only started fifteen games for that club but I scored a respectable eighteen goals. I was popular with the fans, especially after I scored a goal against their biggest rivals.
When I left that club to come back to England I made this terrible mistake about which I have spoken. It was a mistake that has cost me dear and may have brought my fantastic international career to a premature end. I joined a club with fantastic support, huge potential but a pretty poor team and the type of behind the scenes nonsense that you just wouldn’t believe.
I can still score goals
I am stuck here until the end of this season I think although I desperately hope to get away in January. I know I can still score goals and I know that I should still be in the England set-up. It is just that whilst I stay where I am it seems I have no chance.
Please can you advise me as to what I have to do to persuade Mr. Capello that I am worth a place at least in the squad?
MO. North East England.
It seems that your record is, as you say, not too shabby. It is obvious that other countries would hate to see your name in the England squad as they know your ability to score goals in important games and the danger that you present when you pull on that shirt.
As an outsider it is difficult to see why your name doesn’t appear on the list produced by Mr. Capello and I can only assume that he hasn’t been impressed by what you have done. He is clearly difficult to please, although he has been impressed apparently by Scott Carson, Wes Brown, Jolean Lescott, Matthew Upson, Wayne Bridge, Jermaine Jenas, Stewart Downing and Emile Heskey this season so far.
It is clear that you need to try to emulate the heights and consistency of wonderful performances produced by these type of players.
As Mr. Capello says, he has to pick who are proving themselves to be the best players at the moment. We all know how well Wayne Bridge, Wes Brown and Jolean Lescott are currently playing. That is what you need to do.
Keep trying, get a new club and try to match the scoring exploits of Emile Heskey.